Days Out: Tropical World

As a mum with a full time 9-5 job, weekends are precious and time for us to do things as a family. We are very lucky to have an abundance of places on our doorstep in Yorkshire that are usually no more than 1.5 hours away by car. This past weekend we ventured over to Tropical World in Leeds which by car took us around 50 minutes from Stamford Bridge.

Tropical World is located next to Roundhay Park in Leeds and outside of Kew Gardens, is home to the largest collection of tropical plants. For 3 adults and a 2 year old, entrance came to £21. That equated to £7 per adult and Freya was free as she was under 5.

Freya was immediately enamoured by the tropical surroundings and different animal sections including fish, meerkats, snakes and spiders.

Checking out the Tortoise

One word of warning is prepare yourself for how humid it actually is in there. I think we all forgot about the name “Tropical” and all ended up taking our coats off as soon as we stepped inside. We arrived just before 11am on a Sunday morning and by the time we were leaving, it started to get quite busy. There isn’t a lot of pram space when walking about as there tends to be quite a few people using them so I would suggest avoiding bringing one if not absolutely necessary.

After we walked round we then headed to the café and grabbed a bit to eat as Freya declared her belly was hungry. For £21 we enjoyed 2 adult meals and a child’s meal as well as drinks for the 3 of us. I thought all in all it was a reasonable priced day out and with it’s close proximity to Roundhay Park, you could always save money in Summer by taking a picnic.

Overall it was a lovely morning out and definitely somewhere we will go again in future especially since Freya’s auntie Hannah lives in Leeds.

If you have any other Leeds based days out that we should check out then please leave me a comment so I can add them to our list.

Laura x

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Getting Crafty with Viking

This year is Freya’s first proper Halloween. Yes she is 2 and that means she has in fact lived through previous Halloween’s, however she wasn’t old enough to really understand what was happening.

This year we have fully embraced Halloween in our house and got pumpkins to carve and even got a bit crafty on rainy days (which we seem to have had an abundance of lately). Before Freya was born, we put a few decorations in the window to welcome trick or treaters but this year I feel that we can get really into the spooky spirit and enjoy the build up to it as well.

Tomorrow we are attending a fun toddler event which I’m excited to go to with Freya, and all week at nursery, they will be enjoying themed games/arts and crafts. So enough of what’s coming up, it’s time to show you the crafts we have been making at home with Freya in collaboration with Viking who kindly sent us a bag of goodies to get our craft on.

*Craft goodies kindly sent from Viking*

What you can’t see in the above photos is a huge pack of pens that were also included but Freya decided to claim them from the outset and only left me a few for my photo!

A couple of weeks ago we decided to head to our local farm shop The Balloon Tree and get some pumpkins to carve (paint in Freya’s case). It was a pretty miserable day and we didn’t fancy getting caked in mud so we grabbed a couple of pumpkins they had set out in crates at the front of the store. Freya selected a small one for herself and dictated which one daddy should get to carve. Once home, we got out the paints and carving kit an set to work.

As you can see, Freya went a bit abstract with her painting and decided to go for the dark, glittery look. We then sprayed it with an outdoor varnish to ensure it didn’t melt away in bad weather. Freya then turned her hand to helping daddy scoop the pumpkin insides out when it came to carving the larger pumpkin.

Once we completed and mastered the art of pumpkin painting/carving, we then moved onto decorating our mask. Freya unfortunately decided to give up at this point which meant mummy took creative control and made which we can all confirm; a masterpiece…

I have no doubt Freya will continue to develop her Halloween creative skills this week at nursery and if any do make the cut and come home with us, then I will gladly share them with you. For now, we have completed our home crafty efforts for now but I am excited to start working on some Christmas ones next.

Laura x

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Rome with a toddler

It’s taken me a month to write this post, but I’m finally getting round to it! I wanted to share more of our Rome trip with you including where we stayed and what we got up to whilst there.

We had major holiday blues (or rather I did) when we got back from Kos in May and I decided to treat us to a city break. Rome has always been somewhere we wanted to go and when I found a great deal on Jet2, I booked it straight away. We booked a 4 night break travelling from Sunday to Thursday (Freya’s 2nd birthday) from Leeds Bradford airport. We stayed at the YES hotel which despite coming up as a 3*, had TripAdvisor reviews of 4.5*.

We arrived at the hotel after a private taxi transfer and once unpacked, started mapping out our route for that afternoon. We knew in order to fit in as much as we could, we needed to start straight away and walked around Rome visiting sites along the way including; the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Basilica’s. Prior to venturing out, we nipped to a nearby supermarket and stocked up on biscuits, fruit and water so that we could keep Freya amused along the way. I had packed some Sistema snack pots in the suitcase so these were ridiculously handy for the fruit we carted about each day for her.

When planning each day we tried to incorporate quieter corners of the city so that Freya could get out of her stroller and walk about. This included piazza’s and play parks which Freya loved. We also decided to stroll through the grounds of Villa Borghese on the first day, confirming we definitely wanted to come back a second time that trip as Freya loved all the green space.

On the second day we ventured over to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Whilst we didn’t go into the Colosseum due to the sheer number of people, we did go into the Roman Forum and despite having to lift the stroller a few times up and down, it was a lovely walk round. We also visited the Pantheon on our route back to the hotel.

On the third day we had a 3 hour guided tour of the Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel which I had won a few weeks earlier on a Twitter Competition. City Wonders were fab and the guide was friendly and knowledgeable. He even commented on how well Freya had done during the whole tour despite not having the stroller to fall back on.

Our last day consisted of a trip to BioParco, Rome’s zoo located in the grounds of Villa Borghese. This was a special treat for Freya as she was actually fantastic throughout the trip. She loved seeing all the animals and playing in the park. We enjoyed lunch in the grounds for a very reasonable price and then ventured back for our last meal in the city.

Our last meal in the city was a bit of a fluke. We found a great place but they didn’t accept credit card so we ended up wandering round. We thought we had found a place and headed towards it but weren’t blown away by the menu. We crossed over the road and went for the first restaurant we saw which ended up being incredible. We had amazing pizza and the staff were great with Freya.

We had the most fantastic trip to Rome and a city break with a toddler certainly wasn’t as hard as we expected it to be. Yes you have to factor in play parks and regular stops but our first family city break was a smash and I can’t wait to do more in the future.

Laura x

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